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Grognard Files, Swedish Radio and Dalarna 1943 – More Progress

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Writing this after another day working from home during the Corona lock-down in Greater London – I am happy to report that my immediate and extended family are all ok. It all feels very surreal, and I hope as always that this blog will give you a few moments of being away from it all in a safe place.

Today,

  • More pictures from the Dalarna 1943 Project and being contacted by Swedish Radio
  • A note on my appearance on the Grognard Files

Dalarna 1943

I was contacted by the Swedish Radio last week, their regional Dalarna branch, about this project and recorded a short thing for their morning show today. It made me happy, I hope I did not come across as too much of an idiot whenever it is being aired.

Here is a sound file containing the segment (in Swedish, aired 03 Apr 2020)

A lot of recent progress on this project as I have finished the third batch of Prints from Sabotag3d (link here).  I am really happy to see that Paul has been shipping some round pole fences (gärdsgård) over to Sweden and consequently me not being the only one fascinated by this type of Fence. So if this appeals to someone get in contact with Paul and see what he can do for you, he makes these fences in 1/100 scale (15mm size miniatures) as well as for 28mm miniatures. But I suppose you can get them in any scale you like – it really takes us straight into the Dalarna landscape of old (and new) without to much leap of faith. We should also add that Paul also did a few damaged sections for me, to be used to illustrate the impact of an explosion or that a tank has driven through them.

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A similar piece to that used in the picture above as delivered by Sabota3d

Last time around we had done the basic village tiles and the round pole fences and it allowed to create something like this (there is a link here to an earlier blog that covers this is some detail and talks about the Falu Red colour used for the houses, etc).

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For further detailing I wanted to have some mail boxes, typical of the Swedish country side. So I sent Paul the idea and as always he returned a fantastic little print (truth is that the state post box may not have had the colour scheme and the symbol at that time, but I felt it just needed to look that way).

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I miniaturized some documents to represent some kind of messages having been posted up (perhaps about what to do in case or war, or the latest football results!), a Proganda Poster and an old Film Poster (this one a homage to my Dad, as it was the first movie he remembered seing on the big screen at a matinee viewing sometime in the 1950ies, it is the Sea Hawk with Errol Flynn – Slaghöken in Swedish), these were just printed small on a normal laser colour printer on normal print paper and cut out and glued in place.  The label on the yellow post box was made using a lable paper for a laser printer (Model by Sabotag3d)

Milk of course was collected differently in those days and milk churns would be standing on tables alongside the road, ready for collection on the morning.

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(Model by Sabotag3d)

The centre of the village is the Lanthandel that would sell you the supplies you needed.

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Ready for business (Model by Sabotag3d)
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Again some posters from the time used to add some immersion to it all. Some of the brands are still popular today.

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And finally a little petrol station, probably not that operational due to rationing, but again a not to uncommon feature in the Sweden of 1943.

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Petrol Station (model by Sabotag3d)

On top of this I have spent some time doing further features to add to the landscape and increase the immersion factor on the table.

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Made from various stuff tt scale benches (railway stuff), MC from HQ Pack, some cycles from Peter Pig, the wood piles are just cut matchsticks and looks great, and some other stuff.
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The table from a Peter Pig command set and the tools from some railways set I bought ages ago.
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Bikes from Peter Pig
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The wagon wheels and wall from Peter Pig the other stuff from the kit box

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That drawer has some Kurbits – a popular art form in my home county (Dalarna)

We laid out another table and had a game with the Little One last weekend (using the Chain of Command rules by Too Fat Lardies, link here) and then we did a lot of shots of vehicles because we could.

A Little Game

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Some random shots of Swedish WW2 Vehicles

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First out the L-series of armoured cars developed in the 1930s (1/100 model from shapeways).
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The Pansarbil M/39/M/40 was a better solution for the need of the Swedes, with improved off-road cability and maneuverability and double drive. I find it beautiful (1/100 model from Shapeways).
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Perhaps the most iconic Swedish vehicle the Terrängbil m/42 KP. It was a domestic development and allowed the infantry to keep up with the tanks and provide protection from artillery and small arms fire. You can read more about this vehicle and how this 1/100 Shapeways model was modified slightly and the riders added in an old blog post (link here). Still in trials in 1943 and sent back due to inadequate armour plating but if the Germans invade we take what we got.
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Finally we will look at the Swedish Tanks available in 1943. First the Tankette Stridsvagn m/37. There is a previous blog here that shows the how this conversion was made from and the details for the other tanks below (link here).
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Next “beast” is the M/40 Light tank Stridsvagn M/40 – many models and versions. I used this as the Generic one – an early print by Paul Edwards.
I love them. (Formed the backbone of the Irish Armoured force in 1937 and developed into the Hungarian Toldi)
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And in the medium tank class we have the M/41. These were licence built TNH Tanks (perhaps more known as the 38(t) and used by the German army in the early War Period. Later a lot of them were rebuilt for other roles)
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Finally, In the almost heavy weight class (well big medium) we have the M/42 – My favourite with – like the M/40 a domestic development.

 

The Grognard Files – First, Last and Everything

See the source image

For you not familiar with the Grognard files here is Dirk’s own summary what it is all about (stolen from his webpage).

I’m Dirk the Dice and this is the GROGNARD files podcast, talking bobbins about table-top RPGs from back in the day and today.  The Armchair Adventurers are small FRPG group that meet monthly in Bolton. We first got together thanks to a ‘small ad’ in WHITE DWARF in 1983.  We got back together in 2010 to play Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep monthly for 3 years. Playing again reignited our passion for RPGs, so we returned to some more classic campaigns from our teenage years: RuneQuest BORDERLANDS, Traveller ADVENTURE, RuneQuest GRIFFIN MOUNTAIN and Call of Cthulhu FUNGI FROM YUGGOTH. Our interest began to shift towards what had happened to RPGs during our period away from the hobby.

See the source imageI have been, in a friendly way, been pestering Dirk to do a podcast about the Middle Earth Roleplaying Game for a long time (check out #grogmerp on twitter if you do not believe me).  Last month he released part 1 of the MERP (Middle Earth Roleplaying) show and he asked me to do a “First, Last and Everything” segment for Part 2 – that is a presentation of my first, last and overall favourite RPG games.  I went for (because it is true) the first being the old Swedish RPG game Mutant (from 1984) that I have written about here on a few occasions (link some of it here, here, here and here), MERP as it is the last one I played and you can find out more about it in the two Episodes below, my everything is the classic Call of Cthulhu Rpg.

See the source imageHere are the links to the two parts of Episode 36 – Middle-Earth Role Playing (MERP) with Liz Danforth:

I did write a script for my part and it is appended below would you be interested, it may be cool to listen to it first though.

 

/ As always I do hope that this was of some interest, stay safe during these and any other times

First, Last and Everything

Hi, My name is Per and I am delighted to deliver my first, last and everything. You can find me on Twitter as Per at RollaOne or on my blog rollaone.com.

It was 1984 and I was 12 and my slightly older cousin Mika was visiting us in our little provincial town in the heartlands of Sweden, Dalarna, where if you take the wrong fork you may come upon a lonely and curious country, in areas that remind you of some Lovecraftian environment – desolate, quiet and with the occasional character sneaking around, or looking through the windows with empty stares and some doors hanging on rusty and consequently noisy hinges blowing in the wind. These are places where they say shoot-dig-keep quiet – that kind of thing. I mean all that Nordic Noir crime stuff must have come from somewhere? But most of it are quaint red houses with white trimmings, surrounded by, wait for it, round pole fences.

He, my cousin, cajoled me into buying this new game that he had played called Mutant, a game set after the catastrophe in a future Scandinavia. You could play as mutated humans & animals or be a robot from the old time (but with a messed up memory bank, with a tendency to obey orders from pure humans or those who had not too obvious mutations – later I learned they were programmed to follow Asimov’s 3 robotic Laws). You could also be a PSI-mutant with mental powers, shunned by most people with or without fur. They were like magic users but very often with defects like madness or confusion triggered by failing to use a mental ability – making it very frustrating at times, or pure (non-mutated) humans considerable sturdier and more clever than we are today and with a patronising at best to a disrespectful view on mutants. The society that had risen was roughly at the technology level of the early 19th century – you could arm yourself with a musket if you had the cash but equally common were a baseball bat and an old bin lid, or traffic sign with a moose, as a shield. It was a more organised society than in movies like Mad Max – things had calmed down. There were forbidden zones to adventure in and the dungeon equivalent were old research labs or other underground facilities with the chance of finding old tech, crazy cyber computers, frozen people from the old times or mutated beasts – sometimes all at once. The dragon equivalent were giant beetles and land sharks that swam through the earth It was my fist role-playing game and we had never heard about anything like it and it also came with some funny looking dice, but no gaming board. Just a little cardboard sheet that was used to resolve whether the character understood what the old tech item he has just found was. My cousin had never GM:ed before and actually as it turned out he had never played the game – however he spent a day reading it and the following evening a few friends and I made some characters – mine a mutated moose, a hunter, with a big club and a musket – then he very ably played us through the introductionary scenario “Mission in Mos Mosel” until the small hours ….it was love at first play….

This game has evolved to what today is known as Mutant Year 0, and a number of the modern products has given more than a nod to the old modules and adventures.

However we quickly advanced to non-Swedish rpgs – it was not as cool to play the Swedish games – at least not in those days.

We went on a School trip to London in Year 9, this was 1987, and the trip was funded to not a small part of us selling loaves of home baked breads outside a local shopping centre and we also set up a school show and invited all the parents and students – I and yet another cousin and fellow gamer Sebastian played two drunk characters and we made some crap jokes pretending to be pissed and we had a grand finale with the song “Shut uppa you face”, by Joe Dolce. In London we, equipped with a Summer of earnings from working for the local council’s real estate department cutting lawns, bushes and collecting rubbish, delivering leaflets at weekends or selling the Sunday issues of a broadsheet newspaper, bought a lot of RPG games and modules from Orcs Nest (still on Earlham Street today), Games Workshop and The Virgin shop on Oxford Street. We got Judge Dredd, MERP (Middle Earth Roleplaying Game), Call of Cthulhu, and “who ya gonna call” Ghostbusters, Top Secret, Chill, Timemaster, Paranoia and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying and god only knows what else, I remember the only non-rpg stuff I bought was the God Save the Queen single by Sex Pistols and Bob Marley’s Exodus (movement of Jah people).

But also a shout out to the Amazing swedish shop Hobby Huset in Uppsala – they had an amazing selection of RPGs in their catalogue and excellent shipping service. We sometimes even took the 1.5 hour train trip and visited the cellar it was located in and got some strange stuff from the bargain bucket. It was this shop that really opened up the hobby for us country boys.

We played so much RPG games in our youth, in people’s houses but eventually in a shed with a heater that made it bearable. We hated splitting up the group as we had to stand outside in the bloody cold freezing our Dirks off (remember this was Sweden when we had proper seasons). Later we asked our school if we could use one of the class rooms in the evening and weekends and the head teacher gave us a key and we had a hell of a good time. We had a good group with a few changes along the way, but then playing in death metal bands, national service, university education, and moving abroad split the old gang. We had our ups and downs but now 30 years or so later I can only recall the positive aspects, so to my old Grogsquad Jonas, Petri, Sebastian, Tommy, Thomas, Magnus, Micke, Reidar, Erik, Petter, Christer, Anton, Fredrik and the guy who only came once and played Pendragon with us and anyone else I forgot, but also to my new Grogsquad the Adventurers Club led by Dirk, Blythy, Ed, and the Daily Dwarf, I raise my glass of vodka to you all!

Although there was a lot of fear mongering around the Rpg hobby in the mainstream media at the time, thinking we would become too introvert, turn into extremists or jump from buildings imagining we could fly, I think our parents were grateful for the fact that instead of being out drinking moonshine vodka, a speciality of the region, and making the town unsafe, we instead sat in the shed telling each other stories and rolling dice. I think we all turned out ok in the end.

In the day we shared the burden of Game Mastering in our Little but Merry band, but the longer campaigns were usually game mastered by myself or Jonas and one of the first games he ran was MERP – Middle Earth Roleplaying. Jonas was amazing with regards to preparing for campaigns and game sessions and his knowledge of Middle Earth was very deep – he had even read the Silmarillion and the Lost Tales! Later Jonas were to run a very long AD&D campaign (2nd Edition) and although I never really liked the system, his overall campaign with a mixture of shorter episodes, long running plots and reappearing protagonists was probably the best one I ever played. However back to MERP. The rules today feels old-fashioned, being a Lite version of the bigger Rolemaster System but at the time offered us some kind of balance between the always fragile characters in the basic Roleplaying system kind of game and rise of your AD&D characters toward immortality – with MERPs open-ended rolls there was always a chance that an opponent could score critical hits and do some substantial damage whatever the differences in character levels, armour class etc. You had to be careful and not every encounter would be a question of drawing a sword. And the magic system was definitely not Tolkienesque but then Jonas did not allow us to be wizards. But what was more on top of this and perhaps the real legacy of MERP was the many fantastic modules and not the rules. The modules had some fantastic drawings and amazing covers that shaped our vision of this amazing world. There were many talented artists contributing to these modules but for me there are two I would like to mention especially – first the legend Angus McBride who did some exceptional cover art for many of the MERP modules. The second artist is of course Liz Danforth who created an outstanding visual presentation of the various characters, races and creatures of this wonderful world, and by the way a big thanks to you Liz for your support to the #grogmerp campaign on Twitter. But there was more, the modules contained information about the people and lands and it felt like it stayed true to the lore but expanded where there were white spots. Herbs, requires a special mention, and were like modern mobile phone apps – there was an app, sorry I meant a herb for that. It is actually my last RPG, I played and a big part of my recent interest in the hobby.

However, there was only one game that I really really immersed myself into in the day and it was the Call of Cthulhu rpg – I guess it does not need any deeper introduction. The first time I played it was at the RPG club in my hometown that some of us used to go to and play as well as playing with the core group, the club was founded by Magnus Seter and Dan Algstrand who today are well known characters in the RPG Industry. It was an excellent way in getting to know likeminded and try out a wider array of games. The club even run a few conventions and I wrote the Call of Cthulhu Scenario for the first two – with the imaginary titles of – the Shadow in Darkness and the Dweller in the Shadow (You can actually find these on the net, but mind you they are written in Swedish). Our little band played some of the epic campaigns like the Fungi form Yuggoth (later more adequately renamed the Day of the Beast), the Spawn of Azathoth and even the Horror on the Orient Express – although our campaign derailed after a few stops. But for me it was the Arkham county series of books that really made the game come alive – we played scenarios in the Miskatonic Valley – in places straight from the Lovecraft stories like Arkham, Dunwich, Innsmouth and Kingsport. The players included Professors working at the Miskatonic University, a PE teacher who could throw a javelin like no other, a retired Major from the British Army (yes he was a hell of a Marksman with his Webley Revolver), Private Investigators, a daredevil pilot and a Medical Doctor at the Arkham Asylym. The scenarios both readymade and homebrewed focused on local events – it made it more scary and intense when reoccurring NPCs asked for help, suddenly disappeared, ended up at the Asylum, or were found dead. When you could weave in characters family trees into the scenarios with the realisation that great grandfather Elijah Waitrose was a Cthulhu cultist or that Great Aunt Tess Collie was an adventurer lost in Dreamlands. As For anyone who may not be familiar with the literature I really recommend that you read the wonderful but not for the faint hearted stories like “The Call of Cthulhu”, “The Dunwich Horror”, “Escape from Innsmouth”, “The Whisperer in Darkness” and “The Colour out of Space” to name some of my favourites. Yes, having moved on more than 30 years from that initial fascination, I know that H.P. Lovecraft probably was a man I would end up arguing with in the pub – he was a racist, homophobe etc, revealed by studying his letter and analysing some of the stories – I get it! But I was never in it for that, I was in it for the chill, sense of hopelessness in a world full of unknown things that humanity at best had a very limited understanding of, the desperate fight against overwhelming odds of getting either permanently insane or ending up dead. The sheer joy of game mastering a group of seasoned investigators in gathering clues from libraries, local newspapers, speakeasies, weird locals, etc. They, the characters, were never flashing heroes with shiny armour and glimmering swords or caped crusaders flying the flag , they were mostly normal people who endlessly fought on. Call of Cthulhu is my everything!

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Dalarna (Sweden) during the 1943 Invasion (What-if) – tiles, cars, a table and a small game of Chain of Command

If you have followed this blog you may recall that I have been working on a project relating to a “What-if” German invasion of Sweden in 1943 through the Dalarna County – where I “incidentally” was born and grew up. There is a good summary of where I got to with this project to date in a previous blog post (link here).

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Dalarna, Sweden in 1943 does not look like Normandy or the Eastern Front and one of the challenges to create the immersion is to create an overall look that feels right. A lot of the existing wargames buildings and terrain are not suitable for this theatre – the Normandy buildings looks totally out of place whilst the typical eastern European houses, whilst in wood, does not neccesarily have the right look (the common thatched roof on many of these houses are not really suitable). However I have found a few houses, barns etc that will fit.

  • The house on the left in the picture and the excellent round pole fences are made by Paul Edwards. Paul does some amazing work (Sabotag3d.com) and future blogposts will show more of the stuff he has been doing for me once I have painted them up.
  • The other houses shown in the pictures above and below are from Timecast (Eastern European 15mm buildings, link here) and Ironclad Miniatures (link here).

I have also, previously, talked about the typical red colour that was predominant, and still is, in the area – The Falu Red Colour (Falu Rödfärg).

Although the paint fell out of favour in the Urban areas during the 18th century the paint still survived and in the countryside, even today, is still the dominant type of colour.

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The origins of the pigments used for this paint was a rest product from the process of calcination of copper ore at the Mines in Falun, in the Dalarna county.  In the 16th century it was found that these pigments mixed with lineseed oil and rye flour worked as an excellent anti-weathering and preservative when applied to wood.

The Falu mine itself deserves a mention as it operated for 2000 years and at its most productive phase in the 16-17th century it produced more than 60% of the copper in Europe.  It even had its own regiment (with some infantry and cavalry units) during the Scanian War and Great Northern War era.

Every School child in the county visits the mine to learn about its glorious past – today it is not longer a working mine but a fantastic museum with a permanent exhibition as well as the opportunity to travel down to the depths of the mine.

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Farm tiles and Gas Wood Cars

As easy way to integrate your built up sections is to make tiles for a building or a set of buildings.  This allows a more defined look on the table and makes the buildings blend in better in your layout. I made mine from adhesive floor tiles from Poundland (they are made from vinyl) some acrylic paste (caulk) and sand.

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Start by marking up where you want your buildings to go. I also consider the size of the fencing around the farm.

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Then it is time to start the messy bits, with acrylics, sand and paint.

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Leave some space for the buildings but otherwise do whatever seems to fit – make sure there are paths and roads, etc.
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Paint it all brown
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Start drybrushing the surfaces. I work from a pale brown, the terracotta and then finally a pale yellow. The same as I use for all my non-desert and witner bases.
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Add some static grass and tufts

 

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With a little bit of clutter it creates small dioramas instead of putting the houses directly on the mat. it took two short evening session to make them.

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But what about these strange cars? Well if you study cars during this era, not just in Sweden you will notice the strange burners on other arrangements attached to the cars. These are utilising wood gas to power the vehicle due rationing of fossil fuels. I have rarely seen these on WW2 tables but very often in pictures so I made a few (based on some Kinder Egg vehicles I bought off ebay).

 

A game of Chain of Command

A few weeks ago the Little One and I had a small CoC (Chain of Command) infantry vs infantry game (with a tank each) mainly to test out the terrain and how it all looked together, we have a blast and we were really happy with the overall look.

I will let the picture talk for themselves.

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Whilst I love playing in Normandy or the Eastern Front I have to admit that there is something special for me with this project in terms of passion and immersion.  For this table all it really took was a type or Fence and the colour of the houses to transport us straight to Dalarna 1943.

Yes the whole thing is made up but I am trying to make the rest of it justice. As you may have figured out by now immersion is very important for all the projects I do.  It takes an extra effort, but an effort I am more than happy to make.

If you have a what-if idea or a project based on some obscure location spend some time reflecting on how things looked – study photos and find those key elements that immediately gives it away – that is your primary focus for your wargames table. If these items do not exist – consider making them yourself or contact someone like Paul who has the talent to design something in 3d for your, make it printable, print and send it to you! (Sabotag3d.com).

I hope that was of some interest, toysoldier on!

 

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GNW, Little One, Sweden 1943, Mutant 1984 and Podcasts – a review of 2019

It has been a little bit of a strange year with a lot of pressures making it difficult to devote as much time as I would like to the hobby – but in retrospect and upon reflection I seem to have been doing a lot more than I thought. I had lots of fun with the hobby and that is what it is there for!

This is a summary blog of the year and contain some additional pictures not covered in any published blogs.  I hope you will find this review interesting.  I take my hat off for all of you who engage with the blog directly, follow the roll a one page on faceboook (Roll a One, @rollaonepage) or the Per at RollaOne feed on twitter – It really matters to me – so thank you very much. I had as an unwritten rule to do a blog every week, this year I have managed to do 41 blog posts – so I failed the objective but I am happy with that. I could easily have dragged this one out over a few blogs with the extra material but wanted to make a long one of this last one.

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This is my Twitter Feed and probably the best place to follow the going-ons!

The most popular blog post this year was this one detailing how you can enhance your 6mm, or any scale, pictures using your computer screen.  Bleeding obvious to me but a lot of people have found it useful!

Background to your Miniatures – a little trick

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This blog post has a lot of pictures and links (these are the underlined sections, they lead directly to the blog post I am talking about) and basically covers:

  • Poltava 1709 and Joy of Six 2019
  • Battle of Lund 1676 project
  • Gaming with the Little One and a book from Henry Hyde
  • WW2 What-if Invasion of Sweden in 1943 and roundpole fences
  • The Mutant 1984 Project and our Christmas Mutant Dinosaur Hunt
  • Being on Podcasts and some other stuff

Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six 2019

This was the culmination of a three year project covering the Russian Campaign of the Great Northern War and this year I presented Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six show in Sheffield.  This has been a fantastic project and this 16 by 5 feet table actually made me somewhat emotional when I first put it up on the Show (but then each one is pretty special at the time). I did plenty of blog posts about the project this year, you can find them below.  We will put up the table again in 2020 at Salute in April.  This project was done using 6mm Baccus miniatures.

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Overview of Poltava, the Monastery and the Swedish Camp
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Overview of the Redoubts and field outside the Russian Camp

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Detail of the Swedish Camp
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I was really happy with the Poltava model

Here are some of the blog-posts covering this topic ( The last few are the finished article the others about how various elements were done).

Some progress on the Poltava Battle and Grand Thoughts (TMT)

Poltava Town done (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – the Swedish Camp (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Redoubts and Casualty Markers (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Playing with Matches (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Plush Foam Fields (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Total Battle Village Tiles (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Trees, tree Bases and small rocks (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Siege Lines and the King (TMT)

All revved up and ready to go to Joy of Six (2019)!

Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six 2019 – the Grand Finale of the Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT)

Passing through Joy of Six 2019

What is up next? Great Northern War, Scanian War and some Bonus Pictures of Poltava 1709

Battle of Lund 1676

My next bigger 6mm project is the Battle of Lund in 1676. This is one of the most famous battles of the Scanian Wars.  I am doing this using the fantastic Wars of the Sun King range by Baccus 6mm.

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Rauch’s Geworbne Cavalry Regiment
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Prince Georg’s Regiment – a Danish regiment looking more Swedish than meatballs!

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Sea, Six and Scanian War – and a few Podcasts

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 1 – Danish Cavalry

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 2 – Danish Cavalry

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 3 – Danish Cavalry and a note on Winter Basing

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 4 – Danish Cavalry and some Aerosans

Gaming with the Little One and a book from Henry Hyde

I have had immense pleasure in engaging with the Little One yet again this year in painting, playing games and going to a few events together.  He even wrote a review of the Airfix Battles Rules and about his day at Salute on the Blog.  When I asked him about the highlights this year he told me that it was the book he was sent by Henry Hyde, the day we had playing Mike Whitaker’s Omaha game and doing the Star Wars Legion miniatures (more in the links at the end of this section).

The Little One and I met Henry Hyde at Salute (who of course wrote the Wargames Compendium, was the editor for Miniature Wargames & Battlegames and now runs the Battlegames Patreon Site that I am a supporter of, see link here https://battlegames.co.uk/patreon-supporters/ . Please check it out as there is a lot of good stuff there in terms of podcasts, videos and articles – whether you are a supporter or not).

On the way back Max realised that the Henry we had met was the same guy that had written the Wargames Compendium, a book he really loves, and said that he should have asked for an autograph.  I mentioned this to Henry and a few days later, to our great surprise and delight, a parcel arrived with a letter and a book.

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It is was an enormously generous gesture and one of those moments I think the Little One will carry with him for his whole life – many thanks Henry!  The Little One then read the Featherstone book and wrote a letter he sent to Henry that made me really proud.

Dear Henry,

Many thanks for sending me the Donald Featherstone book, it was very kind of you and it made me feel very special. I like the words you wrote and I will keep this book forever. It has taken me some time to finish the book as I have had a few other things going on.
I enjoyed the introduction where he writes about ‘what wargaming is’ and also the overview of the different periods for wargaming – my favourite period is WW2. You have so many different aspects of things going on – on land, in the air, on and under the water and you are not sitting around in a trench for four years as in the Great War. At the very end of the book he writes something I really liked!
“General Sherman, of American Civil War fame, is quoted as saying, ‘War is Hell’. So it is, and perhaps the wargamer, seeing just how helpless his little plastic figures are against the dice simulated effects of cannon and muskets, will appreciate more than ever the utter futility of real war.”

I also have a copy of your book, The Wargaming Compendium, and I think it is the best book a wargamer can get as it covers everything you need to know. In particular I like the chapter on understanding sizes, scales and chance. I love the picture on page 17 showing the different scales.

I hear you are writing another one and I hope it is going really well!
I know you like the Horse and Musket period so I thought you might like this Kings Carabineer from the Battle of Blenheim 1704 and a book about the Battle of Poltava.

Hope to see you again soon,

Max

We also went to Mike Whitaker’s house and played on his fantastic Omaha Beach board, and we wrote about it here https://rollaone.com/2019/11/18/omaha-beach-iabsm-with-the-little-one/ .

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It was an absolute privilege playing on Mike’s table

We also painted up a lot Star Wars legion miniatures and terrain that we wrote a few blog posts about (more in the links below).

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The Little One’s review of Airfix Battles

Some Platoons for France 1940 and a kind of a review by the Little One of Airfix Battles

Star Wars Legion:

Painting Star Wars Legion with the Little One

Painting Star Wars Legion with the Little One – Part 2 (+ Basing and Mats)

Readers Digest version Feb-19 – Star Wars Legion and Great Northern War

The Little One’s review of Salute 2019

Salute 2019 by the Little One

 

WW2 What-if Invasion of Sweden in 1943 and roundpole fences

Some further works was done for the 1943 German invasion forces and defending Swedes. Making some transports for the Swedes with some tanks (including conversions) and a large number of German soldiers and vehicles. I also updated the Chain of Command list for the Swedes. More in the blog posts below (that is also including a note on the visit I did to Dulwich playing Chain of Command at the Warlords Lardy Day – thanks Iain!).

One of the best things that happened to this project this year was the roundpole fences developed by Paul Edwards (@Amaz_ed on Twitter if you want to contact him, or let me know and I will pass it on) that will enable me to give that special feel of gaming in Scandinavia/Nordic much in the same way as Snake Rail fencing indicate a wargame in North America.

How is this relevant to you if you do not play anything in Norway, Finland, Sweden or Estonia (where these fences are common) – well according to some theories they were in use during Viking times so if you are doing Dark Age wargaming (or Colonials as we Norse call it). So if you want to create that little Norse settlement in your Saga game or some other game including some Vikings and want to make it feel a little bit special than maybe this beautiful fencing will be an idea.

Roundpole fencing (picture borrowed from Wikipedia – link here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundpole_fence )

I asked Paul if he could help me out and quicker than I could say Gärdsgård – the name of the fence in Swedish – I now have 4-5 meters of it and I hope you agree it looks good.

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A Mechanised Platoon is getting into position to defend against advancing Germans in 1943 (the KP-bil, was not taken into service until 1944 as the initial batch was rejected due to the weak armour plating – in this what if whatever was available was pressed into service – as they look too cool to not be part of this project).

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Some tanks in support!
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Troops embarking and jumping over the roundpole fences – it does not get more Swedish than this!
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Tysken Kommer! (The German is coming!)

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Granatkastargrupp i Position, skjut mot skogsdungen! (Mortargroup in position, fire against the trees!)
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Target Spotted! Get ready to Fire!

The ones I have has been made for 15mm but Paul can make some in 6mm and 28mm too.

These are the ones I will be using for my Scanian War project.

 

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These are a few in 28mm with some Mutant 1984 characters.

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Paul also does some gate options.

I have also found a reasonable Vallejo mix for Falu Rödfärg.

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50/50 of Bloody Red and Burnt Cadmium Red…
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…gives that dark red old style colour that was more common around 1943 than the brighter red colour being popular today…
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I think if works really well….
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Beautiful design by Paul Edwards

Here are some postings for the Swedish WW2 project (as in all my posts there is plenty of pictures in each of them).  The next step is to produce two half-sized campaign for Chain of Command (or any other Platoon based set of rules).

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The two half-pint campaigns

Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Getting a Ride

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25th Panzer Division for the What-if Swedish Invasion 1943 – Part 1

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Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Getting some Heavier Support, Part 1

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Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Updated Listzz1

German Infantry Platoon(s) for the What-if attack of Sweden in 1943

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Germans for the Swedish 1943 Tourist Season and CoC in Dulwich

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The Mutant 1984 Project and our Christmas Mutant Dinosaur Hunt

This project is my Post-Apocalyptic homage to the old 1984 RPG Mutant – anything goes.

Järnringen / The Iron Ring (Mutant 1984) – Part 3 – Nordholmia Infantry Regiment

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A Sharp Practice Force for the Mutant 1984 project and Colour Sergeant Bourne from Zulu

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Border Skirmish at Hammering – Mutants who would be Emperors (Mutant 1984)

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Mutant (1984) and Death Ray Guns – from Ganesha Games!

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In addition we had a special Xmas game this year based on a vote we did on Twitter where the Mutant 1984 Dinosaur won the Day (beating Winter War, Swedish invasion 1943 and a “proper” GNW battle!).  We used a variant of the The Men who Would be King rules (the same as in the Border Skirmish above) and it was a fun game with two factions of soldiers and hunters trying to take out as many Monsters as possible (2 Dinosaurs, a Giant Beetle, a Four armed Gorilla, 2 Swedish Tigers, a Dark Young of Stubb-Nigarakan) whilst fighting each other. I did not do a write-up but instead I have included a bunch of pictures from the game.

The Swedish (Sabre Tooth) Tigers are based on the Swedish Wartime information Poster stating “En Svensk Tiger” that means both “a Swedish Tiger” and “a Swede Shuts-Up”.

See the source image

Being on Podcasts and some other stuff

Any regular reader of this blog will know that I have a few wargaming podcasts that I like to listen to whilst I paint and model – these are in no particular order the Veteran Wargamer, The Lardy Oddcast, Meeples and Miniatures, Havoc Cast Podcast, Wargames Soldiers and Strategy, Wargames Recon, Henry Hyde’s Battlechats and God’s Own Scale Podcast.  They are all excellent and whilst I occasionally listen to others, those are my solid ones I will try to listen to every time (I listen to a fair few more non-wargaming stuff like the eminent Grognards RPG Files and We have ways and Audible books).

This year I have been humbled by having been asked to come on three of these shows and talk about stuff mainly relating to the 6mm work I have been doing, but also about wargaming with children and my great passion – the Great Northern War.

A few weeks ago Neil Shuck announced that he will stop the Meeples and Miniatures podcast as he has reflected on the time it takes to do the show and other priorities like gaming with friends etc. Meeples and Miniatures has, in my opinion, become like a wargaming (and Meeples) institution and its legacy is enormous and Neil and the other presenters (Mike, Mike, Dave, Rich and all the guest presenters) should be enormously proud of having created this. I felt so honoured to be asked to attend the show and had a blast – so much that it was enough to fill two episodes (sorry!, but thanks Neil and Mike for having me).

Meeples and Miniatures, Part 1

Meeples and Miniatures, Part 2

When I listened to Sean Clarke’s episode 0 and he declared that one of his inspirations to starting his blog (focusing on 6mm an history) was the work I have been doing with this blog – it made that and many days last year. I contacted him and asked if I could come and talk to him and we had a great time talking about the 6mm stuff I have been doing but also getting an idea of Sean Clarke’s upcoming WW1 project for Joy of Six in 2020.  This is another excellent show and I really like all the episodes to date with many friends from the 6mm trenches.  The show with Robert Dunlop (No 3.) is one of the best Podcasts I heard last year.  Thanks Sean for my second outing this year – I had an absolute blast.

God’s own Scale

Henry’s Battlechat has very quickly built up an impressive catalogue of podcasts with a wide range of guests from the industry, rules designers, miniatures producers, artists, book publishers, academics, etc. I have stolen parts of Henry’s intro for this:

“Per is a wonderful ambassador of the hobby, friendly, approachable, intelligent and with a dry sense of humour that you might only notice when you’re halfway out of the door after meeting him! (Watch out for his comment about the Dark Ages being “Scandinavian colonial”!) Here, then, is this Swedish superstar of the hobby in full flow, waxing lyrical about 6mm gaming, the Great Northern War and other Scandinavian conflicts of the 17th and 18th centuries, making snow-covered terrain and the joys of being a wargaming parent.”

Thanks for having me Henry!

Henry Hyde’s Battlechat

Finally I would like to say that my favourite wargaming thing this year was the visit I did to Evesham and OML7 (Operation Market Larden No. 7) – Thanks to Ade et al for this. I met so many nice people and had a fantastic time playing some great games.

Lardy Da!, not La-Di-Da, my day(s) at OML7

I think it is over and out now!

Well almost…

The Winter War

80 years ago Finland was fighting for its independence against Soviet Union in what has become known as the Winter War.  The war has a personal connection to me as the family on my mother’s side is Finnish. We have therefore fought a few battles using the Chain of Command rules to honour and remember the people on both sides who fought and died in this war.

The war started with a Soviet Invasion of Finland without a declaration of war on the 30th November 1939, the war ended 105 days later on 13th March 1940.  More than 25,000 Finnish died and many were wounded. At the end of the War Finland was still an independent state but had lost about 10% of its territory and 12% of the population lost their homes and where re-settled.  The Soviet Union’s losses were far higher and somewhere in the order of 150,000. The campaign was badly planned and conducted by the Soviets and the Finns fought bravely and with great skill.

Here are few pictures from one of these battles, somewhere along a country road…

That was all! See you in 2020.

Mutant (1984) and Death Ray Guns – from Ganesha Games!

 

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Fun skirmish rules from Ganesha!

Some of you have been here before may know that I have a sweet spot for the Swedish Roleplaying game Mutant from 1984.  It was my first encounter with a Roleplaying game and it blew my mind away.  We, the Little One and I,  have been looking for some rules to use for some miniature gaming in this world and one of the rule sets we have been trying has been the Mutant and Death Ray Guns (MDRD) from Ganesha Games.  We really enjoy them and with a few modifications as detailed below we can have a damn good time.

Here is the standard intro I have been using for the Mutant (1984) world:

The background blur of the game makes me reflect on these wonderful words by H.P. Lovecraft, “We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity and it was not meant that we should voyage very far”.  Basically following a deadly and incurable epidemic caused by samples from a mission to Mars the human civilization collapses.  The survivors build enclaves and start experimentation on humans and animals, in effect creating mutants, to see how they will survive outside the enclaves.  However conflicts arises between the enclaves and it leads to a nuclear war sealing the fate of the world.

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That magic box from 1984

Fast forward a few hundred years and the from the ashes new civilizations start to emerge with mutated humans and animals, some “pure” humans and even some mutants with mental powers. There are remnants of the old worlds scattered all around, and some androids/robots from the old days are still around. In addition there are certain areas where the effect of radiation has left some strange effects on the flora and fauna and these areas are called “Forbidden Zones”.

The game is set in Scandinavia, but not as we know it today, and the general level of new technology is equivalent to that of the 19th Century, give or take.  There are steam engines, muskets and some emerging rifle like weapons, heliogram for communication, etc.  Some of the old technology has survived but is rare.

Notes on our take on the rules

War has been raging on for 200 years and the planet lies devastated after countless weapons of mass destruction has been set free. A new dark age has started.

"After mankind’s self-inflicted downfall, other beings strive for dominance. Humanoid mutants, androids, mutated plants and animals fight each other for resources such as water, weapons, fuel and food. It’s a brutal world that knows no hope or respite. A world with only two kinds of inhabitants: those who perish and those who survive." 

(from the introduction to the rule book)

The rules are based on the famous Song of Blades and Heroes engine, it plays in about an hour, it is a small skirmish games and normally uses a handful of characters (5) per side. There is a random system of generating characters or a points system can be used – this is especially useful for matching the miniatures you have.

The different character types are:
• Pure Humans
• Mutants
• Mutant Animals
• Mutant Plants
• Androids
• Robots
• Wretched (like Zombies)

These match very well to the Mutant 1984 universe and most things are relative easy to build using these rules.  Each type has different access to weapons/equipments and traints, etc.

Activation is based on each player choosing to activate a model to do 1 to 3 action, for action a die is rolled and a score is needed to be successful for each die. If two failures are recorded the turn goes over to the opponent. This means that all models can perform at least one action without risk (you only roll one die, if you fail that is only one failure). For two actions there is a risk of two failures and in addition if going for three actions the risk increases of having at least two failure meaning the turn is over for the player.  This is a fun part of the system as it forces the player make some choices. Combat is straightforward.

We have been a little more liberal with the points system than suggested in the book in terms of building the characters.  We have allowed the mutants a wider choice of skills and equipment to reflect the fact that the world is a little more stable and the mutants/animals are perhaps a little less feral than suggested in the MDRG world setting as written. We had great fun in doing this together, based on some of the many models we have.

In addition we have introduced primitive firearms (single shot rifles, musket, blunderbuss, etc) based more or less on the rules in the Songs of Drums and Tomahawk rules (another great rule set from Ganesha Games).

We have added these to the Ranged Weapons table as follows:

  • Musket (2H), Range – Long, Combat – Users, Multiple Shots – No (Pts cost 4)
  • Rifle (2H), Range – Long, Combat – Users+1, Multiple Shots – No (Pts cost 5)
  • Pistol, Range – Short, Combat – Users, Multiple Shots – No (Points cost 4)
  • Blunderbuss (2H), Range – Short, Combat – Users+1, Multiple Shots – No (Pts cost 5)

In addition these primitive firearms require two consecutive actions to reloading (in the same turn). In addition the blunderbuss works like a shotgun in the rules (just less efficient and with the loading constraint).

We bought the MDRG rules in PDF format from Ganesha Games homepage, link here, they are $8. Splendid value for money and highly recommended.

Here are some example forces we have used in some of our games.

The Pyri Commonwealth Patrol

This gang is a regulary military patrol of The Pyri Commonwealth’s finest – the Riflemen.

They have been tracking a gang of Cocks that have been pestering the locals using technology from the olden days, killed several and caused property damage. Their  objective is to stop the gang and seize their high tech weapons – with unconditional force if so required.  The unit is only armed with old style weapons apart from Rifleman Hayya who has an old tech sniper rifle.  The unit has to rely on its stealth and shooting accuracy to win over the more heavily armed opposition – but not forgetting about its hidden asset, the slow but deadly Rifleman Lacoste.

Lieutenant Tarmvred (98 points) – Quality: 2 / Combat 2 Traits: Leader (15), Primitive Rifle (5), Danger Sense (3), Forester (3) and Food (3).

Rifleman Lacoste (114 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Tough (15), Hero (15), Primitive Rifle (5), Short Move (-3), Amphibious (2), Heavy Armour (5), Dim Witted (-1), Hand to Hand Specialist (2), Forester (3), Animal (-3) and Food (3).

Marksman Master Hayya (86 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 2, Traits: Sharpshooter (3), Sniper (12), Sniper Rifle (8), Stealth (3), Gunsmith (2), Forester (3) and Food (2)

Riflewoman Ludmilla (50 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 2, Traits: Sharpshooter (3), Rifle (5), Gunsmith (2), Forester (3) and Food (2)

Rifleman Klasse (50 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 2, Traits: Sharpshooter (3), Rifle (5), Gunsmith (2), Forester (3) and Food (2)

Total cost 400 points.

The Cocky Cocks

This gang are a mean bunch of adventuring mutated Cocks that fell upon an old mobilisation storage from the olden days – full of high tech.

Captain Cock (88 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Leader (15), Flak Jacket (3), Sharp Shooter (3), Pistol (7) and Food (2).

Cock and Roll (108 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Hero (15), Flak Jacket (3), Sharp Shooter (3), Assault Rifle (11), Steadfast (3), Fragmentation Grenade (3) and Food (2).

Laser Maja (68 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Flak Jacket (3), Laser Rifle (11), Steadfast (3) and Food (2).

Helmet Kohl (68 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Flak Jacket (3), Assault Rifle (11), Steadfast (3) and Food (2).

Axe Tax (68 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Flak Jacket (3), Assault Rifle (11), Steadfast (3) and Food (2).

Total cost 400 points.

Here some actions shots from a game we played on a 2′ by 2′ board.

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Featured

Omaha Beach – IABSM with the Little One

 

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On Saturday the Little One and I had a real treat as we were invited to Mike Whittaker’s Mill Studios (@TaTM_blog on twitter) to play the eminent Omaha Beach game that we had missed to play at Salute this year (see link here). The Little One, Andy (who built the terrain but never played the scenario) and I played the American Side, we were being skillfully empired by Mike who also played the Germans. We

The scenario is from the excellent IABSM scenario book called “Where have you been boys” and can be bought from the Too Fat Lardies website here.

Where the Hell Have You Been Boys?
21 Scenarios for £7.80 – that is a good deal! Whether you are using IABSM or not it is an excellent source and contains a lot of varied scenarios.

This is scenario Six and in the book and promises “The game will be nasty, bloody and gritty, it shouldn’t be anything else”.  It takes place at the eastern end of Omaha beach (Colleville-Sur-Mer) and  involves the US 1st Infantry Division – the Big Red One.  This is very much the scenes from Saving Private Ryan stuff. The scenario shows the difficulties on the day and for this kind of operation in general. The Germans have relative little Firepower but are in very good protected position whilst the Americans are mainly in the open up to the shingles of the beach, then protected by the cliffs before having to be in the open again trying to get through the wires and mine fields.

The US forces, just like on the day come in waves, and basically first wave took a lot of damage, so did the second but managed to clear some wires and take out some of the nests form a distance, then the final and third wave started to turn the balance.  It was a different wargame in that most of the time, from our American side, was spent hoping that the next barrage of artillery, HE guns, sniper fire and MG would not wipe the whole section out and that some of the men who survive and get to the shingles and momentarily be safe.  The two Sherman tanks who had made it to the beach did provide some initial fire power but they were soon taken out. It was very sobering and certainly kept to the promise in the scenario book, as it was indeed “nasty, bloody and gritty” and leaves you with a lot of reflection on the terrors facing the men on that day.   We had to leave just as the third wave had arrived, but at this time it looked like the first part of the job was done, at least on the side of the beach I was not responsible for (luckily Andy and the Little One had cleared a lot of wire on their side of the board).

Mike had added a few features like General Norman “Dutch” Cota, coming as part of the second wave, who was useful in rallying and getting some moving on where needed and also Robert Capa who took some iconic photos.

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The Famous Capa Photo
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The one take during the game (actually when leaving rather than arriving) – taken by Mike

A few other memorable moments was the first shot from the Sherman leading to one of the guns in the bunker getting out of action and the off–table German 88 being taken out by some Royal Navy guns very early.  In addition the effect of artillery and the way it works is really effectful and realistic (as is the use of HE weapons) leading to units becoming pinned and stopped in their tracks – not based on casualties in itself – I really like this (keeping your head down). Some of my units arrived without leaders and it was difficult to get these men up to beach to do their job – the unit with the leaders fared better but I was let down by some bad dice rolling (rolling ones, who would have believed that!).

What follows are a lot of pictures from the day.  I believe that Mike will be doing a write up of his thoughts from having played the scenario a number of times in the upcoming Lard Magazine that will be out later in the year.

All the miniatures were from Battlefront!, except for a few Peter Pig casualty markers.

As for the Little One and I? I think we both would be tempted to do something similar perhaps in 6mm?, one day!

It was a great day indeed, thanks for having us Mike.

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Prepping with Chocolate and an Osprey
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Preparation is everything
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The calm before the storm, just a few engineers on the beach.
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Initial rolls for what is coming and a where? – will the boats come with medic of big men, will they arrive in time and will they have taken casualties and in which sector will they arrive?
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Two tanks had made it to the beach!
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Mike had a very effective and clever management system for getting the waves organised
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First boats incoming, one taking damage.
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First shot of the Game a Sherman knocking out one of the Bunker guns.

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One of the first wave boats deploys
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Robert Capa being onboard

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One of the Shermans quickly gets take out of action
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More boats arrive

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Movements then starts up the beach – slow and deadly!

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The Germans have easy targets
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It is a long way to go

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Some of the teams manage to get to the shingles relatively early – safety can be found here for a while.

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Engineers getting up the slopes trying to get rid of the Wires
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Mike doing some Capa shots!

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General Cota is inspiring the men but a lot of kills and pins are being delivered by the German continuous firing!

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Build up on the beach!

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Artillery was scaring and kept pinning and draining men!
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They are not having rest Corporal!

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Some early wires being dealt with!

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Guess who!

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Constantly pinned down – it was difficult to get forward.

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A bazooka team is getting closer with the objective of taking out the other bunker with the Gun (eventually they would be successful).

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At this point we had to leave, we had been playing from around 10am to 6pm, with a break for Lunch.  Finally we had broken through the wire in Section 3 and the third way were just starting to come in.

 

/ Hope that was of some interest!

Border Skirmish at Hammering – Mutants who would be Emperors (Mutant 1984)

This weekend I and the Little One tried out a version of the Men who would be Kings rules by Dan Mersey, we played the Skirmish version (kind of, we actually played it like we had 12 figures per unit although we only used 6 models, but we needed two figures worth in terms of damage to remove a model) with some borrowed items from the FOCH WW1 rules adaptation that you can download from Wargames Illustrated here (covering Tanks, anti-tank guns and squad LMGs).  We call it the Mutants who would be Emperors – as it is set in the weird world that is my take on the Mutant universe as presented in the Swedish Rpg from the 1980s (your Mutant may vary, more here).

Basically following a deadly and incurable epidemic caused by samples from a mission to Mars the human civilization collapses. The survivors build enclaves and start experimentation on humans and animals, in effect creating mutants, to see how they will survive outside the enclaves. However conflicts arises between the enclaves and it leads to a nuclear war sealing the fate of the world.
Fast forward a few hundred years and the from the ashes new civilizations start to emerge with mutated humans and animals, some “pure” humans and even some mutants with mental powers. There are remnants of the old worlds scattered all around, and some androids/robots from the old days are still around. In addition there are certain areas where the effect of radiation has left some strange effects on the flora and fauna and these areas are called “Forbidden Zones”.
The game is set in Scandinavia, but not as we know it today, and the general level of new technology is equivalent to that of the early 19th Century, give or take. There are steam engines, muskets and some emerging rifle like weapons, heliogram for communication, etc. Some of the old technology has survived but is rare.

In short anything goes, it is a world that has started to re-build itself with a technology level of about 18th century give and take but there are some old tech weapons floating around – this is represented by the three different level of firearms in the rules (antiquated rifles, rifled muskets, bolt action rifle, basically differing in terms of range. We may review this moving forward and consider some reloading rules), basically giving each model using one of these a 2d6 (as we are using 6 per unit) in terms of rolling for damage.  For other weapons (automatic weapons, lasers, etc) we assume them having a damage of 5d6 (each LMG costs 1 point) – this gave some units we used a very high fire power rating – being difficult to take down but not impossible for a unit prepared to charge in and fight hand-to-hand. We also used a tank and anti-tank gun in line with the FUCH rules.

The scenario was a straightforward fight between two border detachments, one from the large Pyri-Commonwealth and the other from the small but proud Jemtland north of the Pyri-Commonwealth, during the short but eventful Yran Hostilities that almost led to an outright war in the year 96 (or 2550 if you still count in AD).

The Pyri-Commonwealth side has stopped to re-supply at a depot that is well stocked with water and other essentials, very close to the entrance to a small forbidden zone in the Hamra region in the northern part of the Pyri-Commonwealth. The depot is run by the Nicholas von Rijn trading company and a good deal has been made, a few drinks have been had and there are rumours that Furir Dozibugger has had a few too many already (Typical for the Pertorian Guard – elite status in what?, drinking and hazard gaming).  There has been reports about some mutated monsters in the area – a walking murder tree and a giant beetle – both are very aggressive towards humans and extremely dangerous.  There is enough firepower in the detachment to take them down but invariably a few men or women would have to put their lives on the line in case of an encounter – and they do not fight with caution.  Suddenly the Rifle units comes back running, they  report movements on the other side of  the old ruins – “It is those damn Jemts again. Prepare for engagement…. to arms, man the tank and attack!”.

These are the units we used for this battle:

The Pyri Commonwealth Detachment

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Skyttesoldater of the Nordholmia Battalion (Models from Perry Miniatures, Swedish Napoleonic firing line with command with some conversions, link here)
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Skyttesoldater of the Nordholmia Battalion (Models from Perry Miniatures, Swedish Napoleonic firing line with command with some conversions, link here)
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Skyttesoldater of the Nordholmia Battalion (Models from Perry Miniatures, Swedish Napoleonic firing line with command with some conversions, link here)
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Pyri Riflemen with a LMG per section (Warlords 95th Rifles with conversion, link here, and female officer of unknown origin bought on Ebay).
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Pyri Riflemen with a LMG per section (Warlords 95th Rifles with conversion, link above, and female riflewoman of unknown origin bought on Ebay).
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The sharpshooting Pertorian Guards – armed with Repeater Berry Rifles.  Only flaw is the section commanders habit of being drunk (models from Ironclad Miniatures with a conversion, link here)
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A tank – this is an experimental model with a steam engine and armed with a machine gun. There are only two things that can cause it any major harm the AT rifle carried by the Cocks or the strong jaws of the Giant Beetle. Tank from Ironclad miniatures (link here)

The Jemtland Detachment

 

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Fusiliers of the Skogsmulle Battalion (ACW Perry Plastics with some conversions, link here)
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Fusiliers of the Skogsmulle Battalion (again, ACW Perry Plastics with some conversions)
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Bullet Spitter (Kulspottare, Gatling Gun unknown make, with crew being made from Perry ACW plastics)
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Free-shooters of the Skogsmulle Battalion (conversions from Perry ACW units)
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Free-shooters of the Skogsmulle Battalion (conversions from Perry ACW units)
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Doodle’s Cocks (mercenary unit) – models from Interloper Miniatures (link here)

And of course the wandering monsters, they will attack anything moving within 6 inches and anything firing at them with a movement of 6″+1d6, attacks at 4+ and will deliver 12d6 worth of damage as well as taking 12 points of damage (both counting as being in light cover due to protective bark and scale). The murder tree is from Fenris Games (a dark young of Shub-Niggurath – link here) and the Giant Beetle a plastic toy (made in China) that I was gifted by Michael Leck.

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What follows in not a AAR but a set of pictures from the fighting, with some comments, as we were mostly using this to try out the rules – we had a blast playing and the craziness of it all really adds to the fun!  What made it even better was that the Little One had done most of the planning and I just had to, more or less, sit down and play. We plan to run the game again and perhaps we will do a better narrative of the battle then.

 

 

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The men of the Pyri-Commonwealth ready for Action!
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The set-up the Jems coming in from the right and the Pyris on the left with the trading station and the water tanks.  The Giant Beetle ended up in the middle of the table and the Murder tree in the top of the picture next to the old truck and the ruin.
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About there..
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The Jemts are advancing!
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Tank Gliding in to action with the intention to put itself on the road and put down some fire down the road.  First getting rid of the Giant Beetle.
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Following some really bad dice the Beetle just got angry and went for the tank, starting to damage the hull with its strong jaws. The Machine Gun firing another burst and jammed, it would be up to the muskets to do finish the job.
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Meanwhile a steady advance on the other side of the table
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Some good shooting later from the men of the Pyri-Commonwealth and the Beetle flipped over dead. But the tank had sustained substantial damage from the beetle.
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The other group of Pyri Rifles set to take out the Mercenary Squad
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…behind the cars

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A skirmishing action trying to take a few of the Cocks out!
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Only one Cock lost and the retaliatory fire with a team full of machine guns took the rifle team down from 6 to 1 – game over.
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Overview…
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The Cocks are waiting to take out the tank and anyone else coming into their view!
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The Pertorian Guard were slow to get going as the had started drinking early that day.
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The tank with an unjammed MG moved over the dead Beetle (made in China).
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Pyris finest managed to press on but managed to irritate the murder tree.

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Another bad firing from the Tank’s MG and it jammed again.
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Some fine shooting by the remaining rifles and the Murder tree went down after a few exchanges.
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House to house fighting! I have to agree it looked really weird with all these different uniforms and the setting – absolutely loved it.
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The Cocks maneuvering around to take out the tank (like if it was a threat anyway)
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Hey mate stop waving the flag – they will know we are here!
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This is also the moment when the Cocks used their Anti-tank ability and knock-out the tank (it had already taken some damage and just needed a small push to go useless) – we could not find any of the smoke markers so I let you use your imagination.
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Nothing more retro than Wimpy! Uber Delivery – the boys are gaming!
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It became a dragged out firefight!

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…until only one Pyri group were left standing and pushed back into the ruins!….
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THE END – the last firefight before all the Pyri-Commonwealth gave up!
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Some more pictures the Little One took before we tidied it all up!

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Absolute blast. It is funny that I am playing a game with my son being the same age I was when I first adventured in this world 35 years ago. / hope that was of some interest!

 

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Salute 2019 by the Little One

[The Little One has written the blog today… I will write a little bit more next week from my perspective, but enough of me…]

I asked my Papa (that is what I call my Dad) if I could write the blog post today as we both went to the Show. I played two games at Salute. I could have played more but some were demonstration games whilst other were crowded when we went there and Papa tended to stop and talk to all kind of people that he knows. We did not maximise the playing time very well – but we both did have a good time and I know he likes to talk. I wanted to play the Omaha Beach game but it was full every time we went there – it looked really good [ed: this was the Omaha Beach game put on by  Peterborough Wargames Club]. I will write about the two games I did play in more detail below, but first a few general things.

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Omaha Beach by the Peterborough Wargames Club – it looked really nice.

I did like

  • I really enjoyed the show, there is a lot to do and buy;
  • I got myself 3 Tiger tanks in 15mm from Peter Pig and they gave me a bonus miniature (thanks!) and I also got the Osprey Book about the Tiger I. We also bought a target lock laser line each – this will help us when we determine whether something is in an arc of fire or not. It avoids arguments, I tend to be more rules strict than my opposition (like Papa). I always see Peter Pig at shows and Papa has a lot of their WW2 stuff – I think he has the world record.  I also got some dice, but they were not very exciting.
  • Everyone was friendly to me and answered all my questions really well;
  • There is a lot of different games at this show, I really like historical games but you could also play fantasy and science fiction (I was looking for someone playing Star Wars Legion but I could not find any, we play it at home so I was not too sad about it).  Some games are more like street fights but there are a lot of very big battles as well;
  • We went to the venue using the Cable Car – it is very exciting, and
  • They always have some cool people with costumes at the show, like Star Wars and 40k. This year they had a Spartan from the HALO universe too.
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I took this picture from the Cable Car, you can see the big Excel centre in the background just behind the big boat, that is where Salute takes place every year.
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Peter Pig doing a Pirate Game, it looked really funny!
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There was even a game using Lego models, that is really cool.
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Romans fighting Celts – very exciting. I am currently reading a lot of books about the Roman army, you should too it is really interesting.
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Spartan Soldier

I did not like

  • I was looking for some of the latest Star Wars Legion releases but the traders were only selling older stuff from the range – things I already have.
  • I am not used to walking around that much and should have taken better shoes.

 

The Battle of The Little Big Horn 1876 – The Wargamer Collection Calculator

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The first game I played was the Battle of Little Big Horn, it was fought in 1876. It was a battle between 650 soldiers of the US 7th Cavalry regiment under the command of Lt Colonel Custer against Allied Native American tribes led by Sitting Bull. It was fought over land that had been given to the Native Americans but the Government wanted to take it back because they found gold in the region.

The game was cleverly designed and was played on four different boards, each linking to the other boards and events were interconnected. First I played as the Indians but later I took the role of Custer himself, and my strategy was to get into the Indian village and take the women, elders and children hostage. However I found this challenging, first I attacked when I thought the Warriors had gone off hunting but they were still around, second I had left my Gatling guns behind.  During the game, I found myself facing three different enemy leaders (one being commanded by my Dad) but managed to fight bravely and get into the actual village, but unfortunately I had lost my bonus (as my leader – Custer had taken injuries) and had nothing to counter the Native Americans – ensuring my defeat.  I did put up a brave fight and when I talked to Peter who was one of the organisers at the end he said that I was the closest to Victory on that day. I do not like losing and felt annoyed at first, but I realised that as a consequence the children and the women would be safe – so that is a good thing.

It was a really good game, and I really recommend it if you see it on another show.  It is being run by the Wargamer Collection Calculator – you can find a link to them here.  I heard that they won best Participation Game on the day – I think they deserved it.  I hope I can play it again at Joy of Six in July as I will be going there this year [ed: as if you had any choice mate!].  I am getting the book about the Battle by Philbrick.

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Here is the first of the four areas that was part of the game, the small board is the Native American Village and the big board is where Custer fought. In reality he died on top of the Hill in the Middle. The wooded arrows show how the board links with the other boards.
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Here are the other two boards that form part of the overall Battle.

Space Vixens from Mars – “Meine Ehre heiβt Treue”, The Road to Castle Itter May 1945

The second game was interesting too and was about a situation at the end of WW2 where a German Army Major and an American Lieutenant joined forces to save French prisoners in the Austrian Alps. These prisoners were being guarded by loyal SS Soldiers at Castle Itter, determined to ensure that the prisoners are terminated.

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The Book that inspired the game – The Last Battle with Stephen Harding. I ordered it today as I found it really interesting.

In the game I played the German major and his two squads of the finest German Army Soldiers.  We had to convince the SS checkpoints at two stages to successfully enable us to get behind the PAK 40 AT Gun and the Tiger Tank the SS soldiers were equipped with. This would allow me to conduct a surprise attack whilst the American approached the SS position with his Sherman tanks.  Once the Shermans were spotted, they concentrated their fire on the Tiger and managed to disable it. I overwhelmed the gun crew and put some of my men to operate it and managed to use it to destroy some enemy positions.  The American commander did his job well and finished off the remaining opposition.  As a results we managed to free the prisoners.  All-in-all another great game indeed.  They were using the SFD rules. Really nice people (Phil, Gary and Steve) and they have a webpage too (link here) [Ed: and thanks to Josh Shuck who played the American Commander].

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The Germans approaching the SS position – the Major in his Kubelwagen and his men in the American lorries behind. This requires nerves of Steel.
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The German Major is bluffing his way through as the Sherman Tank sneaks closer at the far end of the table, getting ready for the knock-out shot on the Tiger. Then all went according to plan.

/ Hope that was of some interest, Great Show and Great day. Thanks to the organisers and all the people who put on nice games and shared the hobby with me!